Cardinal Priest of Santa Silvia
Cardinal Pujats was born in Nautreni (Latvia) on 14 November 1930. He commenced his studies for the priesthood at the Theological Seminary in Riga, but the seminary was closed by the Soviet authorities on 18 January 1951, while generally persecution of the Church was increasing. Archbishop Antonijs Springovics of Riga obtained papal permission to ordain all students of 3rd year and up. Cardinal Pujats was therfore ordained on 29 March 1951, at the age of 20, in a secret ordination ceremony in the Archbishop's private chapel. He carried out pastor work in Zosna, Berzos, Rudzatu, Stirniene and Riga from 1951 until 1966. from 1966-1979, he taught at the seminary in Riga and was a priest at St Franciskus Seminary Church. He was made Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Riga from 1979 and Archpriest of St Jacob's Cathedral, Riga from 1981. He was the head of the commission for the implementation of Pope Paul VI's liturgical reforms in Latvian parishes, and publisher of the first Latvian-language missal. He was appointed Archbishop of Riga on 8 May 1991 and consecrated in Riga on 1 June 1991 by Archbishop Francesco Colasuonno, representative of the Holy See in the USSR. He was made a Cardinal "in pectore" on 21 February 1998 and was announced on 21 February 2001.